My god how are we already in 2017! Can someone please tell me where 2016 went as I seemed to have missed it.
Well I guess there’s no better time than now to say ‘Happy New Year’ and what a year I’m hoping it will be. So I’m going to try not to ramble on and on… hello, have you met me before? It’s safe to say that it’s pretty unlikely I won’t be bending your ear and boring you silly by the end of stupendously long, sorry short, post..
Where to start? At the beginning I guess, never could do the whole long story short thing. I noticed changes in me when I was about 15 years old. Silly things like a constant grumbling tum, dust floating in my eyes and super itchy inner ears and a serious bout of thrush (down below, which I didn’t get looked at till I was 30! I presumed everyone just itched). I ate badly, although I didn’t really see it back then, I got asthma and I smoked. Age 14/15 I started my period and it was pretty painful. Some days I couldn’t move or walk through the pain and when it went away it was common for them not to show for three maybe four months. I don’t know about you that’s not very normal when I look back on it now and obviously I listened when my doctor suggested going on the pill. Then when I was about 22 I was diagnosed with IBS and started getting migraines. Fast forward to 11 years ago, aged about 33, after seeing someone about my back and shoulder pains, from a car accident 9 years previous, she suggested I look at candida. Actually that was a relatively shortened version of the very long story! I’ve impressed myself
So that’s kind of when this journey and realisation that I had ill health for many years since, if not way before, my teens. Being young my body was able to cope much better with my appalling lifestyle and lack of fresh food. All the things I loved where the things my body and the candida craved to keep it thriving inside me. I was a sucker for neat, yes undiluted, vimto… that now makes me cringe so much you wouldn’t believe. Vinegar on everything, I kid you not, fishfingers, mash, beans, sausages, chips. OMG pickled silverskin onions… I hid jars in my wardrobe for gods sake! Sweets… I ate so many and I couldn’t stop, whole boxes of jaffa cakes, handfuls of sweets, fizzy drinks, vimto, tea with 2 sugars… and that was just in a day! I kid you not I ate all that and more and I was stick thin. My dentist always praised me on my teeth. So clearly I was ok! Wasn’t I? I look back on the telling little things I did as a child of 6 or 7 like sneaking things out of the fridge such as mini bounty bars (I liked and still like hard, cold chocolate) and trying to make it look like everything was still there so I was being sneaky about it. Now if my son started to do that alarm bells would be ringing in my head that he’s a sugar addict! I would do practically anything to get a fix when I was a child and into my twenties.
So at 30 I met my husband. He was a fab cook and introduced me to much more interesting food. Although it was better it was still the wrong foods but it steered me on a path of getting a different enjoyment of food. I enjoyed watching him and helping him prep the food and then obviously the eating it bit was the best. It wasn’t long after we married that I was told about the candida and as soon as I got home from the back appointment I researched it on the internet. Now there was no instagram or social media and I had no idea about blogging or anything so I bought a book. It was basic to say the least and the food was initially bland but after about 4 weeks I could really taste the natural flavour in ALL the fresh ingredients I used. It was also at this point that I totally stopped using vinegar and any malt products, I managed to reduce my sugar in tea from 2 teaspoons to 1/2 by using stevia as an initial substitute. This was way back before you could buy stevia in the UK so I had to import it from the USA in a fine granulated form. It was expensive and I hated the aftertaste but it helped me still enjoy some of the things I was used to. I’m trying to remember the food I was eating as it was rather different to what I eat now. It was still milk and cereal but it was shredded wheat and soya milk, quiche with soya milk and veg and cottage cheese, omlettes, salads, meat and veg, no fruit for the first three months. It was a total struggle but it was so worth it. My brain function was clear, my tummy stopped grumbling at me, I had energy like never before and I didn’t get depressed. Sadly it all went to shit when we went to Australia a few months after I started the change. In three weeks I undid all the good work… actually it probably only took 3 days but we were away for three weeks so I didn’t have the opportunity to get back on the wagon quickly enough. A year later we had our son and who has time to look at their own health when you have a small baby. When he was about 3 and at nursery I tried again and did brillaintly… AGAIN! Then I started a college course… the cafeteria sold hot chocomilk…damn that stuff is addictive! Oh and I had a flu jab and felt so crap that I couldn’t do anything for a week so I gave up on my diet! It might sound silly but I gave up easily back then.
28 months ago I decided to seek the help of a professional nutritionist and health coach. Since then my life and food habits have changed again. This time I discovered a totally new set of foods and then happened across Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar book and website. With her help I realised there were other foods I was completely ignoring such a coconut and quinoa, chia seeds and cacao powder. My breakfast has never quite been the same since. Now don’t assume that I don’t eat chocolate or have sweeties occasionally because I would be lying. Remember that I’m a sugar addict and sugar is everywhere and it’s difficult to avoid and takes a great deal of willpower, which I don’t always have. Christmas is the worst for me and this year was the first time I kinda let go and embraced all the goodies that I really shouldn’t be eating… help!!! after eight mints and matchmakers and fruit pies and custard! Yes I could make all of these at home with better ingredients and a lot less sugar but I truly had a crappy end of year and I seriously couldn’t be bothered. Now to be fair I ate far worse on a normal day many years ago so this little bout of not eating what was good for me wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could’ve been. I still made relatively healthy choices through most of the days and just over indulged a little. I can tell you though that I’m now struggling to get back to what made me feel good. The sugar cravings are back as are some of the aches and pains I had in my arm, neck & shoulder and leg but they are nothing compared to what they were.
After the photos is a little more to explain what our 2017 plans are beyond getting back on the good healthy food wagon.
The whole point of this was to share where I am now and the journey I want to take to get to where I want to be. The food and health part co exists with these other ‘radical, ‘crazy’ ideas. Having come across a few articles on zero or minimal waste I’ve looked into this concept and really wanted to start doing my bit. It will be a very slow process and will take time and lots of tricks to help me achieve reducing our household waste from a full size bin bag a week into at least a carrier bag size by the end of 2017. Well that’s my aim anyway. Shopping for fruit and vegetables in a supermarket without any packaging on them is actually more difficult than I first anticipated. Buying produce out of packaging is a sure fire way to make sure you are also eating the right foods for your health and wellbeing too. No more frozen chips or ready meals! I posted this idea to my Instagram account and got a huge and positive reaction to it. It’s really encouraging to hear other people attempting this and sharing their ideas as well as offering their support. I will write mini updates over there as well as sharing the bigger picture of how we are doing here on the blog.
The next thing I want to look at is minimalism. I started decluttering years ago but it’s a difficult process, well it was until I came across the documentary ‘Minimalism’. I’m inspired by these boys, The Minimalists, to just start ridding myself f all the visual clutter and noise that means absolutely nothing to me and gives me no real pleasure. It’s spurred me on to sell, donate and organise far more than I could have ever thought possible. That’s a definite watch this space as I will share with you how I’ve pared back my belonging and wardrobe and how I’ve managed to make money and make more time for myself.
Together with health this is the last item on my list and I think anyone can see how this links up to better diet and lifestyle as well as minimalism and zero waste. I don’t feel like I could do any one of these now without the others because they all impact on one another. Having had low moods and light depression for much of my adult life and anger issues for most of my life I think food has had the biggest impact on changing that for me. I have down days occasionally but nothing like the spirals and mood swings I used to experience. Oh and my period? Yeah, you could set your monthly clock by it now and the pain is just a regular ache like most women would experience. My asthma is controlled less by drugs and I don’t get any migraines and funnily enough I take less painkillers or cold and flu tablets than I’ve taken before. In fact I think I’ve taken maybe 6 nurofen in the last 12 months and that’s it. I’m spending more time reading, relaxing, doing yoga, being mindful and being calm.
All together this is looking like a pretty radical new me but I don’t think the old me really was me. I just struggled to fight against ‘the system’ and ‘the norm’ and maybe that’s because I never felt supported nor strong enough to do it on my own. The realisation that the only person who will and can do the right thing by me and my family is me. It’s not the government, nor the food giants, nor scientists. I have to question more and I have to take my own stance on things if I believe it’s a better choice for my family and not trust that someone else will do this for me. I really want to fight back and I’m choosing to do this my own way so if you feel like following along then welcome aboard. If you’ve managed to read this ramble all the way to the end then I applaud you and thank you immensely for taking some extra time today to listen to my values and ideas to make mine and my families a better future.
Have you made any plans for change this year?